Duckworth confirms second trip to the Caribbean

A record-equalling 10 cars have now been confirmed by the organising Barbados Rally Club (BRC) for the Modified 8-WRC class of Sol Rally Barbados 2012, following recent on-line entries received from former local, regional and international Rally Champions on the event’s official web site – www.rallybarbados.bb.

As entries for the Caribbean’s biggest annual motor sport international approach 110, local interest has been boosted by news that Paul Bourne, twice winner of the island’s premier event (2003 and ’07), has entered, after much speculation about whether he would return to action this season.

With backing from Chefette, LIME, Slam 101, MQI, Banks and Castrol, Bourne will again campaign his ex-works Ford Focus WRC07, first seen in the island in 2009 in the hands of British regular Paul Bird. Bourne has finished second to Roger Skeete for the past two years, with another seven podium finishes to his credit since 1993.

Six times the Champion in the BRC’s premier class, Bourne has finished outside the event’s top 10 only once – 14th in 2001 in a Subaru Impreza WRX – and missed an overall finish only three times, the first in 2002, after a major accident on stage one in his Impreza WRC. In 2005 and ’08, after Saturday problems, he won the Sunday Cup.

Jamaica’s John ‘Pentti’ Powell, who rallies under the flag of his adopted homeland Trinidad & Tobago, is also confirmed in his Intercontinental Shipping Ltd/Trinidad Mooring & Launch Services Ltd/FT Farfan/Shell Impreza WRC S14. He has twice finished second in Rally Barbados (2005 and ’07 in Toyota Corolla WRCs) and has just missed the podium for the past two years, fourth in an Impreza WRC S12.

Last September, on the S14’s debut, he finished third to Skeete and Bourne in the Motoring Club of Barbados Inc’s Rally of the Sun & Stars, then went on to win Rally Jamaica for the first time. Having won Rally Trinidad in 2010, he will be keener than ever to add victory in Barbados to his tally.

He has started his year well, winning last month’s opening round of the Trinidad & Tobago Rally Club’s 2012 Championship in his Shell-backed Group N Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X. He was co-driven by the experienced Jamaican, Mike Fennell Jnr, who will also sit alongside him in an Evo IX in this year’s NACAM Rally Championship, which kicks off in April in Mexico. In Barbados, his co-driver will be Trinidad’s Nicholas Telfer, as last year.

Duckworth confirms second trip to the Caribbean

Former UK National Rally Champion Roger Duckworth is the latest to confirm his participation, having claimed his second consecutive Rallye Sunseeker National victory last month. His fourth win on the UK’s popular south coast event earned him a repeat all-expenses paid trip, presented by the Barbados Rally Club (BRC) in association with the Tourism Development Corporation (TDC).

On his first visit last year, Duckworth and Welsh co-driver Aled Davis – he will co-drive again this year – finished seventh in the Intrinsys/Kumho/Autosportif Impreza WRC, after they had dropped out of the top 10 early on day one. He was regularly in the top six by the end of Sunday, claiming the final stage win at the Shell V-Power SuperSpecial.

Late last year, Duckworth was a front-runner in three of the UK’s most competitive events, the Woodpecker, Trackrod National and Wales Rally GB National. Against very stiff BTRDA competition, he finished third on the Woodpecker, then enjoyed a titanic battle with Charlie Payne (Ford Focus WRC07) in Yorkshire: “I really enjoyed the event, due to the close battle with Charlie until he retired, although we lost out on the win by a navigation error on the way to the finish control. The finale for the year was great – after two days of rallying in mid-Wales, we just pipped Nigel Griffiths (Impreza) to the win by 2.2 seconds.”

Of his second trip to Barbados, Duckworth says: “I am looking forward to returning to Barbados with at least a little experience, but probably still a long way from knowing enough to fight for the podium (maybe my slightly vintage equipment has a minor competitive disadvantage, as well as me!). However, I could say that I hope to continue my form from the last stage of Sol Rally Barbados 2011- where we were fastest!”

Sol Rally Barbados and Shell V-Power King of the Hill are organised and promoted by the Barbados Rally Club, which celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2007; Sol RB12 is the 23rd running of the Club’s annual International All-Stage Rally and marks the fifth year of title sponsorship by the Sol Group, the Caribbean’s largest independent oil company.

Web sites: www.rallybarbados.bb; www.barbadosrallyclub.com

Roger Duckworth on his way to victory on Rallye Sunseeker last month – Jakob Ebrey Photography

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